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ICYMI: Ethicists: Clinton Team Violated ‘Spirit’ Of Pledge

- August 11, 2016

Excerpts from Politico


By: Katy O'Donnell
Thursday, August 11, 2016

“During her confirmation hearing seven years ago, Hillary Clinton pledged to ‘do everything in my power’ to separate her work as secretary of state from the business of her husband’s sprawling global charity ...

“An April 2009 exchange between Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band and two of Clinton’s top State Department aides concerning a major foundation donor is the latest in a succession of emails suggesting Clinton staffers violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the ethics agreement Clinton had signed just months earlier ...
 
“Either way, the foundation was seeking special access for a donor — itself a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the pledge Clinton and top foundation officials had signed, according to several ethicists.
 
“‘For the duration of my appointment as Secretary if I am confirmed, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which The William J. Clinton Foundation (or the Clinton Global Initiative) is a party or represents a party, unless I am first authorized to participate,’ Clinton wrote in a Jan. 5, 2009, letter to State Department Designated Agency Ethics Official James H. Thessin.
 
“She was the only one to sign that letter, but a December 2008 ‘memo of understanding’ outlining ethics protocols for the foundation was signed by Clinton Foundation CEO Bruce Lindsey and Valerie Jarrett, a key adviser to President Barack Obama. Clinton lawyer David Kendall signed a separate Jan. 5, 2009, letter outlining ‘voluntary steps ... President Clinton intends to take to assist Senator Clinton to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest with her duties as Secretary of State’ ...
 
“‘Whether she or her aides have violated the spirit of the pledge … yeah, of course they have,’ [Meredith] McGehee [policy director for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center] said. ‘The notion of continuing contact between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department — that was not supposed to happen’...
 
“The emails, which Clinton failed to include in the ‘work-related’ cache she turned over to the State Department, show open lines of communication between the old Clinton hands running the family’s multimillion-dollar charity and those who’d moved on to help her run the State Department. The State Department was forced to turn over the emails to Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, in a Freedom of Information Act case ...
 
“Ethicists tended to agree that while there may be no evidence of a deliberate violation of Clinton’s pledge, the emails underscored the blurry lines between the globe-spanning charity and Clinton’s work as the nation’s top diplomat.
 
“‘The Clinton Foundation was taking money from anybody who would give it, and the biggest contributions were from people who had business before the State Department,’ said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. 
 
“‘They didn’t follow the pledge. … I don’t think anyone in the foundation sought to deliberately violate the pledge, I just don’t think they cared about it,’ he added ...
 
 “‘It would be useful for Hillary Clinton to recognize that that kind of a behemoth fundraising operation was irresponsible,’ Holman said ... 

Read the full article here


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